Top 10 Science Fiction Films of All Time

Top 10 Science Fiction Films of All Time

It’s about time we here at Cinefix
turn our lens towards genres. This week we’re looking at science
fiction in hopes that picking out its best might give us a clue as to what
exactly it is we see in the stars. These are our picks for
the top ten sci-fi films of all time. (Music) Of course, science fiction isn’t all
lasers, snakes, and rocket juice. At its best, we’ve always thought
that sci-fi was a genre of ideas, of speculation,
of dreaming about what’s next. And as our favorites emerge, we saw that
they tended to convalesce around a handful of key thematic conflicts. Sorting into categories more
philosophically than otherwise. And for our first slot, we’re looking
at science fiction that examines how humanity might respond in
the face of great scarcity. What it might look like to cling to
species existence by a relative thread. It’s not post-apocalypse,
but boy, is it close. ‘Soylent Green’ and ‘Logan’s Run’ are some
of our sub-genre defining faves here. But for this first slot, we want to take some time to to
look at the newer, ‘Snowpiercer’. – Would you wear a shoe on your head? Of course,
you wouldn’t wear a shoe on your head. A shoe doesn’t belong on your head. A shoe belongs on your foot. A hat belongs on your head. I am hat. You are a shoe. I belong on the head. You belong on the foot. Yes, so it is. – If you can get past some of
the thermodynamically invalid science silliness of the core premise. That a hurtling mega train is somehow
the best place to weather a global winter. Boy does it open up a beautiful world
of stunning and fascinating set pieces, each arranged in a different
car down the line. And along the way it explores some serious
questions and genuine moral quandaries. What if prosperity is
predicated on suffering? What if the good of all
depends on the pain of some? What is the cost of bringing
down a broken system? Revealing and questioning those parts of
people that respond to limited resources and exposing some of the barbarism
on which society can be built. (Sound) Of course,
when things get a little bit worse, we have the science fiction film that
examines how humanity responds in the face of its utter destruction. How we as humans and as a species
face our own upcoming extinction. Potential and preventable, certain and
unavoidable or nearly come to pass. It gives us a unique opportunity to
reflect on how tenuous our relationship with our planet and existence really is. Some of our favorite films in this genre
are the likes of ‘Sunshine’, ‘Contagion’, ‘Andromeda Strain’,
‘The Road’, and ’12 Monkeys’. However, we think Alfonso Cuaron really
outdid himself with ‘Children of Men’. – As the sound of the playgrounds faded,
the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world
without children’s voices. – ‘Children of Men’ shows us an incredibly
bleak look at the coming apocalypse. With just enough of a dash of hope that we
don’t all off ourselves on the way out of the theater. And it’s a brilliant concept for
the end, a worldwide sterility. Certain enough to finish our species for
good, but protracted enough for us to have time to really
stew in the idea of it. It is an incredible window through which
to look at how dependent upon future and posterity we really are. And how quickly things might
break down in their absence. Regressing from nice and
polite to brutish and short with longevity no
longer on the table. (Sound) Of course,
if we’re talking sci-fi, at some point, we’re gonna run into aliens. And if we’re looking at it from our
philosophical perspective, one of our favorite ways to consider alien movies is
to look at the human encounter experience. It offers a unique opportunity for us to look at ourselves as a community
of humans, a species as a whole. With a new extraterrestrial
player in the game, all over a sudden our in group
bickering can be cast aside or not. We love ‘Close Encounters of
the Third Kind’, the original ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’, and the lesser
known rad indie ‘Another Earth’. However, for our third pick,
we’ve gotta get us some ‘Contact’. – If you should meet these Vegans and were permitted only one question
to ask of them, what would it be? – (Cough) Well, I suppose it would be,
how did you do it? How did you evolve? How did you survive this technological
adolescence without destroying yourself? – A “Robert Zemeckis” film based on
a story by “Carl Sagan” himself, ‘Contact’ is a perennial fan favorite. A potential alien encounter serves
as a point of departure for a discussion about what our shared
values as a society are and should be. About what it means for there to be something else out there and
how we should respond. Perhaps ahead of its time in a frank and
balanced discussion about rectifying the competing world views of
scientists and the religious. ‘Contact’ searches for common ground in our shared humanity and
seems all the more relevant for it today. (Sound) Another sort of alien encounter
happens not in the initial contact, but in the aftermath of it, where we have
to deal with the question, what now? And this immediately invites questions
that mirror those we face in society today with racial, cultural,
and political undertones. Probably one of the most allegorical is
‘District 9’, neatly mapping apartheid race relations onto human-alien
interaction in Johannesburg. But this conflict isn’t just reserved for
aliens. The question of cohabitance is raised
the science fiction of ‘Robots’, ‘A.I.’, ‘Clones’, and even ‘The Undead’. ‘Blade Runner’ is another
excellent choice here, examining the rights part of human rights. However, for our number seven pick
we’re actually going with ‘Her’. – You know,
I can feel the fear that you carry around. And I wish there was something I
could do to help you let go of it. Because if you could,
I don’t think you’d feel so alone anymore. – In an increasingly fascinating
artificial intelligence genre that is taking more and more complex and realistic
looks at what thinking, and learning, and self improving machines might
unleash upon our world and society. ‘Her’ is brave enough to almost entirely
ignore those questions in favor of what it might unleash upon our emotions. ‘Her’ explores our fragile human
limitations not in intelligence, but in co-dependency, and
attachment, and emotional need. It is a deeply human look at
what the future might hold and what innate features of
ourselves might hold us back. Not just our inability to calculate
pi to the billionth decimal, but in fact, those very inner
fragilities that make us human. Of course, as much as the hippies
would like to insist otherwise, survival as a species isn’t all peace and
love. And burning man barter economies
where we’re all stronger together and good vibes only. Sometimes conflict is inevitable. And as far as science fiction
is concerned, another big topic of exploration is not how much we learn
to co-exist with another species. But how we deal with sub-existing when
we find ourselves no longer the dominant life form. And here we love ‘The Matrix’,
‘The Terminator’, and ‘Dark City’. But for our number six pick, we’ve gotta give it to
the original ‘Planet of the Apes’. – Tell us, why are apes created equal? – Some apes it seems
are more equal than others. – ‘Planet of the Apes’ is science fiction
near its boldest and socially relevant. Exploring mankind at the bottom of
the totem pole, making a broad, if not deep foray into the social
consequences of it all. And there’s an empathy and
self awareness underlying it. It considers our historical role,
especially as colonialists and conquistadors. It inverts, asking us to a walk
a mile in the shoes of the oppressed, interrogating our own
ethics in the process. Does it lose some credibility
in the broadness of its strokes? Sure, but it’s the start of
the conversation, not the end of it. The twist, absolutely classic. (Music) (Sound) A lot of science fiction
preoccupies itself with exploring future technology. The advantages, the wonder,
the possibilities but also the risks and the danger. And one of the most interesting ways it
does this is by examining the intersection of new technology with human nature. It examines our very human foibles and
quirks. And considers the possibility that our
technological growth might outpace our moral growth, exposing deficiencies
that may lie latent within. Some of our favorite examples of this
kind of cinema come from ‘Gattaca’, ‘Minority Report’, and
‘A Clockwork Orange’. However, for our number five pick we’re
actually gonna go with a “Chris Nolan” film, and good god, no, not that one. We’re talking about ‘The Prestige’, which we think is his
finest sci-fi film to date. – Nothing is impossible, Mr. Angier. What you want is simply expensive. If I were to build for you this machine, you would be presenting
it merely as illusion. – Well, if people actually believed the
things I did on stage they wouldn’t clap, they’d scream. Think of sawing a woman in half. – Mr. Angier, have you considered
the cost of such a machine? – Price is not an object. – Perhaps not, but
have you considered the cost? – The Prestige is not so
obviously science fiction. Not least of all because it takes place
in the past, because it’s about magic and because there’s hardly
a spaceship to be seen. But there is science. But the problem is that this obsession
driven innovation is completely divorced from an honest and measured evaluation
of what the right thing to do might be. Physics surpasses metaphysics. Can we disregard, should we? Algiers and Borden embody ceaseless
ambition without moral reflection. Unleashing greater and greater suffering
with the help of “David Bowie” turned “Nikola Tesla” destroying themselves and
each other in the process. (Music) But personal ambition is not
the only form of ambition and individual moral decay is not
the only form of moral decay. Science fiction also has a long
history of exploring not just how technological advances might overtake
good sense on a personal level. But how that technology might enable
the glitches in human nature to reorganize themselves politically in a way
that enhances our ability to exploit, suppress, and control. Done excellently in ‘1984’, in ‘Brazil’,
and back in Godards’ ‘Alphaville’. However, for our next pick, we’re still
pretty damn big fans of ‘Metropolis’. (Music) Set in the far future society of 2026,
which is depressingly less than 10 years away, ‘Metropolis’ was made
100 years prior in 1926. A story about a dystopian society
where workers are little more than fleshy machines. And machines look like
tinny worker gals and wealth stratification is far worse than
now, which is far worse than then. So yeah, it’s pretty bad. One of the strongest and most enduring
influences on the genre ever, it is bold and beautiful and
thematic and political. Perhaps not perfectly logical or
built on the realest of science, but concerned nonetheless with
something more important. That left unchecked, human progress
at scale will overcome human dignity. (Sound) On the far other
end of the spectrum, from the large scale political
back down to the deeply personal. We want to look at science fiction
films that explore how science and technology might alter the very
core human experience. What would happen if we could
enhance that one deeply unique human feature
that is consciousness? This is ‘Limitless’
expanding our cognition, or ‘Abre Los Ojos’ extending
our experience beyond death. Or ‘Total Recall’ and ‘Videodrome’ blurring the line
between virtual and reality. ‘Strange Days’ explores what might happen
if we could start sharing memories. But for our number three pick we’re going
with what might happen if you could start to erase them with ‘Eternal
Sunshine of The Spotless Mind’. – This is a hoax, right? This is Clem-
– I assure you, no. – There’s no such thing as this. – Look, our files are confidential, Mr.
Barish, so I can’t show you evidence. Suffice it to say Ms. Kruczynski was
not happy, and she wanted to move on. We provide that possibility. – ‘Eternal Sunshine of
the Spotless Mind’ is very soft sci-fi. Life looks very much like it does for
us today. No super puppies or
clone slaves or laser sex. Except a new technology has been
developed that can erase memory. Marketed to help let go of
the pain after a breakup. And much like ‘Her’ does with
artificial intelligence, ‘Eternal Sunshine’ explores
the consequences of this emotionally. But it is not a warning to be
careful of erasing our past. Instead it is an exploration
of human nature by relief, revealing that which is deeply
human by examining its absence. The result is not so much about
the future but about the present, which is really what all our favorite
science fiction films are doing. Using an exploration of where we might
be to explore where it seems like we’re heading in order to reveal
exactly where we are. Closing in at number two,
there is another sort of cautionary tale. Not of our future advancements unlocking a
part of our collective personalities that turns nasty. But of the future itself unleashing
something uncontrollable and unpredictable, on the world. We have stumbled down a path from
which we cannot easily return. This is most classically ‘Frankenstein’ or
‘Gojira’, or more recently ‘The Host’ or ‘Akira’ or ‘Jurassic Park’. And for our penultimate pick,
it’s ‘Stalker’. – (Foreign) – ‘Stalker’ is a simple film. A guide leads two men, the writer and
the professor, into the zone. A mysterious and unexplained place that we assume must
be a remnant of a nuclear disaster. Or an alien visitation, or
some kind of wrinkle in space time. There, they seek a room that is set to
grant its entrants their deepest desire. The zone around the room is modern
society recaptured by nature. A burnt out land returning to its infancy, almost eerily predicting what would become
of Chernobyl less than a decade later. And again, we see if science fiction can
see not turning us towards the future, but inside, towards desire and ambition,
in a search for something greater. Guiding us slowly into an exploration
of our own inner zone. Interrogating what it might unleash upon
the world if such an opportunity might arise. (Sound) (Sound) And
finally for our top pick, we are also looking at science
fiction that puts it all together. Unhinges its jaw and attempts to swallow the entirety of
the future of humanity in one gulp. And for our pick,
you’ve probably already guessed it. We’re not distinguishing ourselves
as unique list makers on this one. No for our top pick, we’re shocking all of nobody by
going with ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. Because sometimes if it ain’t broke,
you really don’t need to fix it. – I am pushing myself to
the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any
conscious entity can ever hope to do. – What might we say about ‘2001:
A Space Odyssey’ that hasn’t been said 1,000 times before? It is vast, inscrutable, beautiful,
boring, prophetic, navel gazing, cold, genius. It sets out to trace the entire history of
man from apes through star children and spends ten minutes on kaleidoscope
colors in the process. It is almost impossible to
understand on first viewing, or without a little help from the book,
which may or may not even be canon. But it also inspired and continues to
inspire nearly all modern science fiction. In an era where science was a genre for
pulpy B-movie fare, “Stanley Kubrick” revitalized it and
proved that it too could be art. He flummoxed audience members, enraged
critics and challenged “Tarkosky” himself. He struck a frustrating balance
between the posing of questions and the absence of answers. Inviting generations to consider
exactly who we were and where we might go as a part of
something greater than ourselves. Which is why it’s our pick for
the best science fiction film of all time. (Music) So, what do you think? Disagree with any of our picks? Love any sci-fi films we skipped over? Let us know in the comments below,
and be sure to subscribe for more Cinefix movie lists.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. If you liked the movie "Contact" then you really enjoy the book with the same title by Carl Sagan. It is more complete and fulfilling.

  2. I can’t stop laughing at the “what hasn’t been said about 2001 a space odyssey that hasn’t already been said- boring”

    I’ve tried watching it 4 times but just can’t seem to get through it. I can handle slow films like the dollars triology and Lawrence of Arabia, and I love the shining and clockwork orange so its not the directors fault. I don’t know what my problem is

  3. Hey, please stop peddling that BS about wealth disparity being worst that ever. You are lying by omission when you do that. Take your example of the time when Metropolis was made,1926. Did the very poor have phones and radios? Did many of them own automobiles? The only reason people truly go hungry in America today is if they are to proud to ask for help or they refuse it. It makes no difference how rich the rich are. The poor are so much better off.
    I used to work with toys for tots. I would see people in new cars thumping expensive custom stereos with after rims that cost thousands of dollars coming to pick up free toys. These people qualified for a need based program. (I think some of them had messed up priorities, but I am glad we could help make sure their kids had some Christmas magic.) the poor people in America are so well of it is not fair to compare them to historical poor peoples.
    If you think about it who is more poor than a serf? The king owned everything, even you. If you were a slave you might could somehow secure or buy your freedom from your master, but you would still be under the king. How do you compare someone how owns all of England and one of their serfs who doesn’t even own his own labor?
    Think about it like this. You work part for a man in his small business. He makes $100,000 a year running the business and you make $10,000. The business explodes overnight. He hires you on at full time for $100,000. He now makes $1 million a year. The wealth gap has grown from 90k to 900k. How are you worse for it?

  4. I’m in heaven, I’m in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak
    And I seem to find the happiness I seek
    When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek

  5. I still like "Close Encounters of the Third Kind, "The Abyss", and "Starman". My wolf, Sara, who died last year, had a close encounter of the worst kind when she bumped into a fifteen or sixteen foot tall male Sasquatch, Saturday night, March 30, 2013, the night before Easter. This traumatized her and she suffered from some form of PTSD from then on.

  6. Before watching I am predicting #4-Blade Runner, #3Alien, #2The Martian, #1 2001 A space oddessy. Lets see how i go [Edit] damn, one out of four

  7. Seriously?!? No Armageddon?!? No Independence Day??!?… how are they not on this list?!? …. oh wait, this isn't the "10 Worst Sci Fi Movies of All Time" list……. scratch that, too narrow…. oh wait, this isn't the "10 WORST Movies of All Time" list.

  8. You picked 10 great movies sure, but top sci-fi of all time and no BladeRunner? Sorry but that is simply incorrect.

  9. The fact that Bladerunner is only mentioned once in this video is a crime. AND you put it behind Her? Jesus guys…

  10. science fiction means telling a story revolving about a piece of tech (nology?) that doesn't yet exist like the Time Machine- time machines or Star Wars- light sabers not tales of what could be , that's just fiction

  11. Until the End of the World is centered around a piece of tech that doesn't yet exist, and it's a good movie

  12. Howard the Duck is good one because of the Intergalactic tractor beam device in it
    and Ant Man is a good one because of the Pym particle suit in it

  13. Great list guys! Sure, you left some of my favorite sci-fi movies out but, is a great list anyway. Love sci-fi, probably my favorite genre of movies.

  14. I would have guessed Blade Runner, The Fifth element, Donnie Darko and Dark City to be in the list, but apparently The Prestige is the 5th best Sci-Fi movie ever. WTF! So The Prestige is better than Westworld, Alien, Matrix, 12 Monkeys and Back to the Future? Sure bro, sure it is. What a Joke of a list.

  15. The Prestige isn’t a Sci-Fi film. It’s slight of hand. You just need to go deep enough. Although I’ll never complain about such a perfect film making any top 10.

  16. Snowpiercer SUCKED- if you think this stupid flick deserves to be on any list other than WORST MOVIES EVER- then, you are not qualified to make any lists. Ever.

  17. Hilarious! You guys mentioned some of the greats but each and everytime pick lesser crappier movies. Her is better than T2? hahaha

  18. Excellent . This is one of the most accurate and well thought through top ten movies list. I agree with all of them. Props for mentioning all the motion pictures of great significance in movie history and logically creating a criteria. Blade Runner should have made it because it opens up a lot of thinking about A.I.

  19. I’m surprised Videodrome was even mentioned. Very unknown movie. One of my favourites. Also Akira should have been there. Maybe not one of the broadest, but more effort was put into it than almost any other movie ever.

  20. Interstellar should be on the list in fact I should be first place. Interstellar is the most brilliant science fiction movie in the world. The best part of the film interstellar is the themes like the 4th dimension string theory Time dilation and black holes is phenomenal. The music in interstellar is also so emotional and amazing. The relationship between the father and daughter is so heart touching. The visuals are also amazing and I would say that it is Christopher Nolan’s greatest film

  21. Like art movies are subject to ones tastes. That said for me any list that does not have "Arrival" and my all time favorite "Interstellar" in it is not a qualified list. And what is with all the hate for Interstellar anyway?
    Oh and I would add "Annihilation" to a more worthy list too…

  22. I really like how you guys don’t pick movies based on how commercially popular they were. Instead your picking movies that YOU see define certain aspects of the genre.

  23. What this list showed me, is that Im either too old school or very behind in my Sci-fi viewing as Planet of the Apes and 2001 space Odyssey are the only movies on this list Ive actually seen.


    10)Straight off the Forty O- AVP, Predator, The X Files, Star Wars,
    Tron, Small Soldiers, Warframe, Starcraft, Battletoads, The Twilight
    Zone, The Outer Limits, The Omega Virus, Independence Day, Yars Revenge i
    would class as the sci fi hall of fames total trash. Some of these
    titles and genres are for rare specifics in good fans and patrons, they
    use the disregarded art of to much egomaniac antics, narcissism, and
    fast paced stimulus.

    9)Specifics- Online sci fi short films have extremely amazing creative
    ideas, like Cockpit or Gegalo are very cool, youll find this among this
    kind of private methodology, why, because the patrons arent dicks that
    just create something just for a profit in the mainstream and throw
    stupid trash to a bunch of shitheads about craving entertainment, Star
    Wars can kiss the 15% fascinated ass, we want entertainment not garbage.

    8)Egomaniac Attack- Quake by ID Software is a little hellbent, the
    Strogg are still sort of Annunakian like the Ancient Doom race, and the
    enviroments indulging, but the weapons are far fetched and unreal
    imagination oriented and ET's don't make mutants and cybernetic freaks
    and do all this horribly criminal fucked up witchcraft, act like
    oppressors, or run around like they got hyper, that shits for the Duke
    Nukem goofballs, its just to much, true E.T.'s are considerably vicious
    with military combat abilities, and use mysticism and higher
    intelligence, thats Doom instead.

    7)Specialized science fiction- Science fiction android/tablet games like
    War Robots, Robot Warfare, Dead Call, Elite Space Trooper, Space
    Invasion Combat, Sci Fi Shooter, Space City, Space Predators, Space
    Shooter, Ultimate Space Shooter, X-Wing, Orion Nebula, Aliens Pinball,
    UFO Quest, Youth, LibriVox books, Megatroid, the creative Megaman tablet
    games are like nothing you've ever experienced, Tiger Robot, Zarya-1,
    Mobile Strike(Especially noting its phenomenal effects of relaxing
    ecstasy), Doom of Aliens, Gunspell, and Space Cadet are extremely
    interesting, mind blowing, and psychologically immersive, these titles
    are the science fiction new age early breakthroughs in the lost category
    of science fiction in the 19th century, which will be added as IE
    mystic, relaxation and joy, and immersive.

    6)Sci fi's true roots- Aliens is a science fiction egomaniacs treasure!
    Its interesting, mentality indulging, adventurous, and thrilling.

    5)Fantasy fad- Star Trek, i would tie with aliens a bit for the space enviromental stimulation.

    4)Joy, laughter, tranquility, fun- Apollo 13, Apollo 18, Space Odyssey,
    now this is true science fiction, this uses all the pro tricks and trade
    in science fiction fascination and amazement.

    3)Tranquility masters- HG Wells, Jules Verne, HP Lovecraft, Stephen
    King, Edgar Allen Poe, Isaac Asimov are the best science fiction authors
    of them all.

    2)Mystikal Tranquility specialty- Isaac Asimovs Foundation series, this
    series patent is so spectacular you can't put these novels down, unless
    you have the Doom novels of course.

    1)Penultimate fantasy fad " Behold the art of true masters "- Doom by ID
    Software, by the Leo personality star signed legendary space geek,
    videogame artist, and NASA special agent, John D Carmack! Doom is a
    science fiction geeks phenomenon, John Carmack has all the pro science
    fiction trendsetters tricks of the trade down, even surpassing Asimovs
    talent in affecting what is called, " Mystical Tranquility " and
    indulgement in the human mind, as well as human ego, sense of adventure
    and suspense, and an interest in the arts and fantasy, science fiction
    writers are just about books and publications, so Doom takes the first
    place among all.

  25. Logan's run was a fantastic film for it's time, and I'd love to see a remake but I just know they'd ruin it like they did with day the Earth stood still, Andromeda strain or war of the worlds

  26. 2001. Imagine you're watching a movie and the cast is on a plane coming in to land and from the time the Captain turns on the "Fasten Seat belts" sign to the time the plane descends and lands, taxi's to the gate, the passengers disembark, go through Customs, collect their bags and finally catch a taxi is all played out in actual real time…… that is what it is like watching 2001…..

  27. About Stalker. It was (pretty loosely) based on a book by Strugatsky brothers, Roadside Picnic, and in the book it was stated that the Zone was the result of an alien visitation.

  28. Contact is the greatest science fiction movie of all time and nothing is ever going to change that whether you're watching it way back in 2054 or now.

  29. Honestly, this list was a huge disappointment. This was more of a list of the different sci-fi ideas, not a list of the best sci-fi movies out there. Where was Interstellar? Alien? Arrival? Inception? I wish these were on the list, because they could definitely replace some of the movies on the current one.

  30. I’m kind of surprised that Alien wasn’t on the list. But I do enjoy that this channel doesn’t go with the predictable movies

  31. Sorry to rain in your parade. But "Her" like "Transcendence" is only bearable for the extremely computer illiterate. "Her" also happens to depict a society that I find emotionally repulsive. Though I do not doubt that we could sink that low, if not lower.

  32. One sleeper movie that tends to be overlooked when it comes to mankind not always counting the cost of technology is Brainstorm. That one delves into the artificial sharing of memories. Low budget, but a good storyline. It suffers a little do to the necessity for re-edits do to the death of Natalie Wood before filming was completed. But it is a pretty good movie nonetheless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *